Framing your product as a ‘job-to-be-done’

I just stumbled across this video of a talk from Clayton M. Christensen (he of ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma‘ fame) highlighting the important difference between a product’s function and its ‘job’.

The premise is that, when consumers are faced with a need, they essentially “hire” a product to do that job, and that this job can be wildly different from what the seller thinks it is. This thinking is summed up nicely by the Peter Drucker quote “The customer rarely buys what the company thinks it is selling them“, but Christensen goes on to elaborate in more detail:

The jobs-to-be-done point of view causes you to crawl into the skin of your customer and go with her as she goes about her day, always asking the question as she does something: why did she do it that way?

The fact that you’re 18 to 35 years old with a college degree does not cause you to buy a product. It may be correlated with the decision, but it doesn’t cause it. We developed this idea because we wanted to understand what causes us to buy a product, not what’s correlated with it. We realized that the causal mechanism behind a purchase is, ‘Oh, I’ve got a job to be done.’

Check out this article from the Harvard Business School or the video below for a more detailed take on this line of thinking.

Posted by Rob in Advertising, Branding, Marketing

A case for going cold turkey on social media this New Year

It’s a new year, and with it the obligation to try and pursue some form of self improvement. I came across this piece on the New York Times about one computer scientist, Cal Newton, who shuns social media in an attempt to maintain his concentration skills and it struck me as something worth looking into.

I’ve always seen social media as a harmless activity that can help develop your personal brand online and keep you up-to-date on news and trends, but Newton highlights some all too familiar downsides that certainly hit home. Mainly, the effect on ones ability to concentrate on a certain topic for a prolonged period of time. In work, this can manifest itself in jumping from task to task looking for quick wins and making it difficult to focus on one thing to completion.

Over the last couple of years I’ve found that messaging apps like WhatsApp are actually much worse at encouraging this habit than traditional social media channels, triggering an urge to check your phone every minute or two and tripping you up in whatever task you are trying to concentrate on at the time.

Newton outlines the side effects of this below:

Consider that the ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks is becoming increasingly valuable in an increasingly complicated economy. Social media weakens this skill because it’s engineered to be addictive. The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used — persistently throughout your waking hours — the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom.

Once this Pavlovian connection is solidified, it becomes hard to give difficult tasks the unbroken concentration they require, and your brain simply won’t tolerate such a long period without a fix. Indeed, part of my own rejection of social media comes from this fear that these services will diminish my ability to concentrate — the skill on which I make my living.

Maybe putting a limit on messaging & social media app usage might not be the worst New Year’s resolution to make. Food for thought.

Posted by Rob in Social Media

Facebook targets mobile payments in Europe via Irish e-payments license

It’s been almost 2 years since I wrote about the new payment function in the Facebook Messenger app but it finally looks like the feature might be coming to Europe too after the company has secured an e-payments license from the Central Bank of Ireland.

Facebook payments

The Central Bank of Ireland’s register shows that the license was authorised to Facebook Payments International Limited (FBPIL) in October for “e-money issuance” and “payment services.” An Irish license would apply throughout the other 27 European Union member states.

In the short term, it means that Facebook Messenger will be able to roll out its peer-to-peer payment features in Europe, letting users send money to friends via the Messenger app (see below), but in the future this could also include payments to businesses as well.

For an insight in to what might be possible in the future, check out this example of two friends talking about, searching for, booking and paying for flights all within Messenger!

Posted by Rob in e-Commerce, Mobile Payments

Activate’s Tech & Media Outlook for 2017

It might come in at a gruelling 177 slides, but this 2017 Tech & Media Outlook from consulting firm Activate at last week’s WSJ Live Conference is jam-packed with interesting stats, insights and projections for the future of technology, media and entertainment. It’s a bit of a slog if you’re trying to absorb all the information presented, but it’s well worth a skim through at least.

Posted by Rob in Media, Social Media, Tech

The slow and steady growth of ‘mobile payments’

I’ve written quite a bit about mobile payments over the years (here, here, here and here for starters) and it seems that it’s a space that continues to progress ahead, albeit at a relatively slow pace.

A new report from Visa Europe outlines that an ever-increasing amount of people are starting to use a mobile device to make payments in some form. Hardly surprising.

  • The number of Europeans regularly using a mobile device for payments has tripled since 2015 (54% vs 18%)
  • 74% of British consumers are ‘Mobile Payments users’ – people who manage their money or make payments using a mobile device
  • The fastest growth rate for mobile banking adoption is with 55-64 year olds

While more and more people are becoming ‘mobile payments users’, this seems to be a pretty vague term mainly encompassing users who make monthly in-app bill payments and the like. Frequency is overlooked.

The fact that more people are using mobile devices to make payments is great and all, but whether you sit on your couch and book a flight on your laptop or on your mobile phone doesn’t really make much of a difference.

The real disruption to be made re: mobile payments is at the point of sale. And it seems that this still has a pretty long way to go.

This Business Insider graph from more than 2 years ago has actually proven to be quite accurate. Mobile in-store payments are continuing to account for a growing proportion of all e-Commerce payments, but we have certainly not yet reached what you might call a tipping point.

Even with the same slow and steady growth of the past couple of years, we will continue to see mobile making an increasing impact in brick-and-mortar retail sales. Although it could be another couple of years before this truly becomes the norm.


Posted by Rob in e-Commerce, Mobile Payments, NFC